After consecutive bowl appearances, Florida International is on the verge of staying home this December. They have two games remaining this season and that includes a date against the Miami Hurricanes this Saturday, the program located just down the road. While FIU gets little notoriety nationwide, they have a pair of 2020 NFL Draft prospects well regarded in the scouting community.
If you’re scouting the coach Butch Davis’ Panthers team for next-level talent, you must watch both sides of the ball as quarterback James Morgan (who was listed as one of my Week 10 Risers) and linebacker Sage Lewis are potential day three picks.
QB James Morgan
Morgan, who started his career at Bowling Green before transferring to FIU, has outstanding size, smarts, and arm strength. He’s a classic pocket passer with deceptive mobility. His arm is strong enough to make all the passes on the NFL level and Morgan does a great job using all his weapons. Four FIU receivers have at least 20 receptions or more this season. He’s an accurate passer and has completed just under 59% of his throws. Morgan has tossed just 2 interceptions this season compared to 10 touchdowns for the Panthers.
Even if FIU does not make a post-season bowl game, Morgan will get an opportunity after the regular season to display his skills in front of NFL scouts. He’s already accepted an invitation to the Shrine Game, which will give him a decided advantage to secure a spot in the NFL Draft in Las Vegas.
LB Sage Lewis
Lewis is your classic off the ball/run and chase linebacker. He’s quick-footed, displays a good change of direction, and moves with speed to every direction of the field. Lewis measures a shade over 6-feet tall but has a stout build and plays physical football. Despite struggling with injuries this year, Lewis has totaled 53 tackles with 2 interceptions and another 4 QB hits.
To date, he has not received an invitation to any of the post-season All-Star games, but if healthy an invitation to the NFLPA Game should be in the offing. There are some area scouts who really like Lewis and feel he’ll be a good fit at either middle or inside linebacker at the next level.
The last time the Panthers had two players selected in any one NFL Draft was 2013, and that streak could be broken next April.
Tony Pauline is Pro Football Network’s NFL Draft Analyst and Insider. Follow him on Twitter @TonyPauline. Follow PFN on Twitter @PFN365. And be sure to join us on Saturday for the PFN College Football Game Day Blog, as Tony and the rest of PFN’s NFL Draft team give the latest analysis and inside scoops on the day’s games.